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Traffic disruptions expected as I-35 bridge work starts Monday

Interstate 35 motorists should expect traffic disruptions beginning Monday as work begins on a $31 million project to reconstruct both the northbound and southbound I-35 bridges over Deep Fork Creek in northeast Oklahoma City.

The I-35 bridges are located between NE 50 Street and the Interstate 44 interchange, northeast of the Remington Park horse racing track and casino.

The structurally deficient bridges are in "bad shape" and need to be updated, said Lisa Shearer-Salim, public information manager for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

"It's a bridge that needs to be replaced," said Mike Patterson, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. "There's not a threat of it falling down, but it's just deteriorating so rapidly."

The project is expected to take just more than a year to complete and is part of a larger reconfiguration of the I-35 interchange with I-44.

The northbound and southbound bridges each currently have two I-35 through lanes and an auxiliary turn lane.

The bridges initially will keep the same number of lanes once construction work is complete, but will be widened so that an extra lane in each direction can be added in the future through striping changes, Shearer-Salim said.

Highway construction crews expect to start work by patching the northbound lanes, she said.

Once the patches are in place, the plan is to shift southbound traffic to the bridge normally reserved for northbound vehicles, she said.

Each bridge is wide enough to allow two narrow lanes of traffic in each direction while work is being done on the other bridge, Shearer-Salim said.

Speed limits will be lowered and drivers will need to use caution, she said.

Construction work also will impact highway ramps in the area.

Early in the project, potential intermittent closures may impact the eastbound I-44 off-ramp to southbound I-35, officials said.

Other anticipated impacts include:

• The southbound I-35 off-ramp to NE 63 Street will close for the duration of the project.

• The northbound NE 63 Street off-ramp will close from April through October of 2019.

• There will be limited closures of N Bryant Avenue between NE 50 Street and Aluma Valley Drive from April through October 2019.

• The southbound I-35 service road will be narrowed up to the Remington Park entrance throughout the duration of the project.

Sherwood Construction Co. Inc. of Tulsa is the contractor. Financial incentives are offered for early completion.

Randy Ellis

For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two... Read more ›